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Experience of stigmatization in children receiving inpatient and outpatient mental health treatment: a longitudinal study.

Kaushik, A., Papachristou, E., Telesia, L. , Dima, D. ORCID: 0000-0002-2598-0952, Fewings, S., Kostaki, E., Gaete, J., Ploubidis, G. B. & Kyriakopoulos, M. (2021). Experience of stigmatization in children receiving inpatient and outpatient mental health treatment: a longitudinal study.. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 32(4), pp. 675-683. doi: 10.1007/s00787-021-01904-5


Mental health-related stigma is poorly understood, and minimal research has focused on the experience of stigma from children's perspectives. We sought to investigate whether children treated as inpatients and outpatients had different experiences of stigma over time and whether stigma is linked to global functioning cross-sectionally and longitudinally. Children, aged 8-12 years, receiving treatment within a national specialist mental health inpatient unit were matched for age, gender and diagnosis with children receiving outpatient treatment (N = 64). Validated measures of stigma, global functioning and symptom severity were collected at the start of treatment and upon discharge from the ward for inpatients, and a similar timeframe for their individually matched outpatients. Latent change score models and partial correlation coefficients were employed to test our hypotheses. No differences in most aspects of stigma between children treated as inpatients and outpatients were observed, except for personal rejection at baseline and self-stigma at follow-up favouring outpatients. A reduction in stigma was observed in societal devaluation, personal rejection and secrecy for inpatients, and self-stigma and secrecy for outpatients between the two assessments. Societal devaluation declined at a higher rate among inpatients compared to outpatients, albeit reductions in stigma were comparable for all remaining measures. No association was found between the change in stigma and change in global functioning. Future research may offer further insights into the development and maintenance of stigma and identify key targets for anti-stigma interventions to reduce its long-term impact.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Publisher Keywords: Stigma, Children, Mental health treatment, Inpatient, Outpatient, Global functioning
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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